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Saeima supports simplification of investigation of less serious crimes

Photo: Saeima.
On Thursday, 21 September, Latvia’s Saeima conceptually supported changes to the Criminal Process Law that provide for simplification of investigation procedures of less serious crimes.

The parliament notes that Latvian investigative institutions have to register and process a number of different procedural decisions and related documents, as well as input data in the criminal process registry. Because of that, information sometimes overlaps.

In addition, conditions detailed in the Criminal Process Law also do not allow performing an investigation remotely. On top of that, the law in some cases forces investigators to perform the same investigative tasks twice. The legislative draft proposes rejecting formal, repeating activities and documents, as well as creating conditions for an efficient investigation, simplified submission of the criminal process to the prosecutor’s office and court, as well as simplified halting, restoration and conclusion of criminal processes in the event of a statute of limitations, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

To simplify and speed up investigation of less serious crimes, amendments propose cancelling the requirement for investigators to meet with witnesses in person and instead allowing communication to be performed using e-mail or phone. Also amendments provide the option to perform audiovisual confirmation of investigation activities, dropping the traditional report method as the only method of registering activities. This, according to authors of the proposal, will help avoid overlapping of information.

The law also provides clarifications to improve the criminal process registry and options for its use.

Less serious crime is a crime for which the Criminal Law provides a prison sentence longer than three months but no longer three years. This also applies to crimes committed unintentionally and for which the law provides a penalty that includes a prison sentence no longer than eight years, the parliament reminds.

Before law amendments can come into force, they have to be reviewed by the Saeima in the second and third readings.


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